New research by the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) has found that almost two thirds of Australian students are training for jobs that will not exist or are set to change drastically in the future.
The report, titled The New Work Order: Ensuring young Australians have skills and experience for the jobs of the future, not the past, outlines three key economic drivers set to affect the future workforce:
- automation, with machines increasingly taking over human tasks
- globalisation, where workers around the world are able to do jobs from remote locations
- collaboration, which sees an increase in the number of people employed in flexible arrangements with a range of employers.
While these conditions offer a number of opportunities — such as increased flexibility and lower barriers to entrepreneurship — they also pose the risk of unemployment, inequality and insecurity.
Approximately 40 per cent of Australia’s jobs are at high risk of automation in the next 10 to 15 years. Labourers, machinery operators, technicians, clerical and administrative workers, and salespeople are most at risk, while the other end of the scale sees managers, professionals and those in the community and care sector more likely to hold onto their jobs.
Currently, 70 per cent of young people enter the workforce in occupations at high risk of automation — less than 20 per cent are employed in those considered to be more secure. Among students, those studying in the VET sector are set to be hit hardest, with 71 per cent of VET students training for occupations that will be radically affected by automation in the next decade.
Of further concern is that one in three young Australians are unemployed or underemployed, and in the past 25 years one third of jobs created in Australia have been ‘less secure’ temporary, part-time or self-employment roles. While these roles tend to offer more flexibility, they often don’t feature the social protections (such as minimum wage, insurance and leave entitlements) that come with traditional full-time contracts.
To help prepare for the changing landscape, the report recommends an ‘enterprise learning’ model, which focuses on providing communication, financial literacy, project management, creativity, innovation and digital literacy skills. In the next two to three years, more than 90 per cent of the current workforce will need digital skills to perform their roles, while 50 per cent will need advanced skills to configure or build systems.
Download the full report here.